While some students might opt for buying brand new clothing, others enjoy the thrill of thrifting and sustainable fashion. You can find treasures in other people’s secondhand goods. Whether you are in the market for vintage clothes or designer-quality clothing, here is a list of sustainable fashion spots in the community with a recycled point of view.
Doneanne Jamieson, owner of Mustard Market in Fullerton, said she draws in customers browsing for vintage collectables or shopping for young children. Her largest demographic of customers consists of women in their late teens and early twenties, many of whom visit weekly or monthly to sift through racks for vintage clothing.
Beyond vintage finds, thrifters can opt for secondhand alternatives since they relish the thought of the item being reused rather than mass produced, Jamieson said. The term fast fashion is coined from this process of cheaper labor with high turnarounds during the production of fashion resulting in harmful effects on the environment.
Jamieson’s vision for her store was to help the community by donating and shopping locally. Shoppers who contribute get a discount on their store purchase and a tax deductible receipt for larger donations.
Since the nonprofit relies on 98% of donations, they endeavor to pay it forward when they partner with other nonprofits. These programs are geared for families in need or reestablishing homeless into transitional housing.
Everyone has extra in their closet or garage, and the store creates a hub for that extra and is dispersed to the individuals who need it, Jamieson said.
“It's just caring for your community, right?” Jamieson said. “A lot of people have a desire to be engaged in the community, but don't know how to do that. Or they want to help the people who are less fortunate than them.”
Sustainability stores have a common thread of sourcing secondhand goods while limiting their waste. Uptown Cheapskate owner, Jo Ann Winter said both of her stores source gently-used clothing and accessories that are listed roughly 70% off suggested retail.
Any items that are not sold to the store can still be donated. From there, the donations are trickled down to charitable thrift stores. The final leftover items are then sent to a refurbisher where the garments will be broken down and repurposed into new materials.
Winter’s first sustainable fashion store is located in Lake Forest. She reopened a second location in Placentia after closing a store in Fullerton during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her customers responded positively to the reopening since they needed clothing and supplies after the shutdown.
The store keeps its eye on the trending men’s streetwear with brand names like Supreme, Off-White, Bape and Boy London. Women’s apparel sees a high turnover rate for Doc Martens, Lululemon apparel and Michael Kors crossbody bags.
“Sustainable fashion is getting bigger and bigger,” Winter said. “There's Thredup and there’s Poshmark and there’s so many resellers now, and a lot of stores are starting to get into it. Because I mean, honestly, we don't wear our stuff out.”
Winter said that high school and college age customers will wear outfits to events and gatherings to post on social media.
Afterwards, they sell those garments and the next customer can purchase a name brand item with minimal or no wear for a fraction of the price. This experience is unique to sustainable stores.
Winter described the benefits to in-person shopping since Uptown Cheapskate will give the buyer cash in exchange for clothing or 25% more in-store credit and shop for something new.
When investing in sustainable fashion, seeing the product up close and personal can be a deciding factor rather than buying from online retailers like Poshmark or Depop.
For those who seek a luxury spin on their sustainable fashion, drive west of the 55 Freeway to The RealReal at Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach. Shoppers can consign their Louis Vuitton and Prada handbags with a credit to buy another closet staple.
Although designer labels hold their value in price, research from Business Review at Berkeley suggests investing in quality and style that lasts is a more sustainable practice. The demand for sustainable brands by Gen Z had increased two times more than millennials indicated in The RealReal 2021 resale data report.
Shoppers can be assured they are buying genuine items since The RealReal has what Kevin Ngo, senior manager of authentication and brand compliance, calls the five pillar process of authentication.
The handbags are examined through their factory production codes, hardware, textiles and materials, fonts and typography and the construction of the bag. The nationwide brand employs hundreds of fashion experts and brand authenticators.
With many sustainable fashion boutiques, it no longer requires excessive digging to find hidden gems for incomplete wardrobes. The impact inspires customers to return as they are looking to give back to the community, whether by donating or selling items that will move on to a new happy home.